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June 5, 2020, 2:52 a.m. EDT

Taylor Wimpey order books rise, completions fall

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By Joe Hoppe

Taylor Wimpey PLC said Friday that construction is progressing on most of its sites in England and Wales as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown eases, and that its order book rose at the start of the year though completions fell.

The U.K. home builder said that along with the majority of its sites, show homes and sales centers are open in England and demand has been strong. Total group completions--including joint ventures--in the 22 weeks to May 31 fell to 2,455 from 4,052 in the comparable period a year prior as site closures hit, the company said.

Taylor Wimpey said its order book continued to increase, and as of the week ending May 31, it stood at 11,228 homes, representing 2.78 billion pounds ($3.49 billion), up from GBP2.52 billion a year prior. Cancellation rates remained low over the crisis, with 5% of the private order book cancelled in the nine weeks from the start of lockdown, compared with 6% at the same time a year earlier.

The company said forward indicators have improved since reopening sales centers, with appointment bookings trebling and a 32% increase in website traffic compared with the same period in 2019. All digital methods are becoming increasingly effective, Taylor Wimpey said.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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